Yes he definitely can, will he? It would be great and I think his odds are good.
I remember watching Mat pitch against the Reds in 2010 (@ San Diego) and remember thinking at the time he was a punk. Gomes hit a blast in the left field warehouse seats that gave the Reds the lead and Latos stared him down as he rounded the bases.
I'll be interested to see what kind of start Latos gets off to this year. He's known for having a horrible first 4 weeks.. I wonder if he'll start strong this year.. The Reds made some adjustments to him last year.. They told him to stop using one of his pitches (which was mediocre and getting hit hard), then Matt took off. Hopefully he carries over the success to April 2013. It would be great to get off to a good start.
But as far as the original question, I consider Latos an ace now. Cueto too.
Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2012 AND 2013!
Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!
Latos WILL turn into an ace caliber pitcher. He is still second string to Cueto though.
Mr. Redlegs - 2012
If by "become an ace" you mean take over the team's first spot in the rotation, then no, probably not. That spot is Ceuto's.
If by "become an ace" you mean become a guy who can be relied on to be the stopper and consistently bring nasty, top-of-the-rotation caliber stuff that makes hitters look bad and routinely puts the team in a position to win, then I would argue that Latos is already that kind of pitcher and doesn't need to "become" it.
I think part of Latos continuing to mature will be evident in how he starts outs out in April the next 2 seasons. He's been really slow to get going at the beginning of the year, and I think we'll start to see more consistency out of Mat from start to finish as he keeps progressing.
This is the year.